This month New Jersey’s Site Remediation Reform Act takes effect, meaning that the responsibility for remediation of state’s 20,000-plus contaminated sites now passes from the DEP onto licensed site remediation professionals (LSRPs).

It also means that the formerly voluntary cleanup program is now at an end. Instead, for all new remediations, the authority to officially identify, clean up, and issue official signoff certificates lies with these board-licensed individuals.

Michael Sylvester, director of business operations for Whitman Co., an East Brunswick-based environmental engineering firm, will discuss what this means for engineers and the state at the Commerce and Industry Association on Wednesday, May 26, at 8:30 a.m. at the PSE&G Training Center in Edison. Cost: $80. Visit www.cianj.org.

Sylvester, who earned his bachelor’s in business management and marketing from Upsala in 1988, is a recognized expert in brownfield redevelopment. Such plots have become some of the most sought-after real estate in New Jersey

As early as 2006 the DEP tried to lighten its burden by designating certain environmental consultants as “cleanup stars.” Trained and certified, these individuals could identify and oversee remediation of some low priority sites. From this arose today’s LSRP. Governor Jon Corzine signed the Site Remediation Reform Act into law last year.

But not all has transpired smoothly. The shifting of remediation oversight to individual professionals came with great hesitancy and still maintains many critics. Environmentalists and legislators worry about putting the authority in the hands of one individual when such enormous amounts of money were at stake.

“Yet all in all, this is a great boon to the New Jersey business climate,” insists Sylvester. Most all agree. Construction and land development companies are especially pleased, and environmentalists have been reassured that polluters really have no place to hide, says Sylvester.

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